As the Patriots were in the middle of an in-stadium practice at Gillette Stadium, Matt Judon was one of several players seen in street clothes, and the multi-time pro bowler hadn't been an everyday participant in the early days of camp. Word had been around for a good bit now that No. 9 was disgruntled with his contract with two years remaining on his deal. Although he wasn't given an extension, Judon appears to have gotten the pay bump he'd been looking for.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Judon is getting $14,000,000 in guarantees this year, with the opportunity to gain an extra four million in incentives. Not because of his work as the Patriots' unofficial GM of course, but a well-deserved move for one of the league's best quarterback hunters. Over the last two seasons, only Myles Garrett and Nick Bosa have more sacks.
Re-Running the Classics
Giving a key Patriots defensive cog a notable bump in pay with two seasons left on their deal is something Bill Belichick has done before. Right before Stephon Gilmore's final season in New England, he received an extra $5,000,000 in guaranteed money with a chance to earn an additional $2,000,000. Although we know how things turned out a year later, Judon is at least making it sound like New England is where he wants to be long-term. Even going far as clapping back at a certain disgruntled, miserable, former Patriots defensive back who tried to get him to bad mouth Belichick on Twitter, you probably know the one.
What this move does not do, however, is increase his money for 2024, well, at least for the time being. Still, a nice early birthday present here for the soon to be 31 year old. For all the talk of the 2021 spending spree being a disaster, which in fairness is at least partially true at this point, Judon has been as good as gold from the moment he walked through the door in March of 2021. Hopefully that his next and most likely final contract keeps him a Patriot until the end.
What Could a Matt Judon Extension Look Like?
Wouldn't call myself a cap expert (follow @patscap on the bird app if you want the best in the business), but when I first thought about this, the player that immediately came to mind was none other than DeMarcus Ware. And just like Judon, the last time the soon-to-be enshrined Hall of Famer hit the open market was when he was over 31 years old. The front-loaded deal he signed with the Broncos was three years, $30,000,000, with $20,000,000 in total guarantees, plus a $5,000,000 signing bonus.
Hard to say what the cap will look like down the line, but in each of those three years, Ware accounted for 7.2%, 6%, and 5.1% of the cap respectively. 6% of the 2023 cap is $13,488,000, a decent chunk less than what Judon is set to account for this year and next. Feels like that could be a good starting point for both sides if the plan is to lock down Red Sleeves for good as a Patriot.
UPDATE [9:38 EST 8/4/23]
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